Chichester triathletes triumph at home and abroad

TWO members of Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club took part in the world championships in Beijing.

Following the spectacular opening ceremony, a total of 2,000 athletes in a variety of age groups competed on the 2008 Beijing Olympic course in the sprint distance on the Saturday and the Olympic distance race on Sunday.

It was an early start with Wilf Hill starting at 6.30am in the 18-19 group and Mike Cooper setting off in the 45-49 age group just under an hour later.

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After a 1,500m swim, a 40km undulating bike ride and a 10km run, also undulating, both were pleased with their times.

Hill achieved a personal-best time of 2hr 24min 11sec and Cooper finished 17th in the 45-49 age group - and the fourth British team member for that group – in 2.20.21.

Both said it was great to see the elite race in which Alistair Brownlee became world champion - which was the perfect motivation for their event the next day.

Meanwhile, another two CWTC members took part in what’s likely to be the last event of the season.

Harry Leleu and Mary Campbell travelled to Eastleigh for an open-water sprint triathlon consisting of a 400m open-water swim, a 21k cycle and a 5k run.

Leleu had a great swim, leading the pack of about 40 with Campbell in fourth and first female.

Leleu got out of the water with a comfortable lead but on the cycling leg, rain made things very slippery.

Campbell’s race ended with a puncture but Leleu maintained his lead into the run and ended nearly three minutes ahead of his closest rival.

This brings his mixed season to a close. He experienced a win, a nasty bike crash, punctures then another win – but at only 14 he still has plenty of time to achieve his goal of competing as an elite triathlete.

Leleu thanked tri coach Adrian Campbell, running coach Stuart McKenzie and cycling coaches Mike Cooper and Brian Gowdy for their help over the season.